One of President-elect Trump’s first moves regarding global warming regulations has been selecting Myron Ebell to lead the administration transition for the Environmental Protection Agency, reported by the Pacific Standard.
An election which focused more on theatrics than actual human issues failed to give the subject of global warming much attention at all. For environmentalists, the few conversations President-elect Trump has had about global warming are cause for concern.
President-elect Trump has been very critical of policies regulating global warming and has even referred to human-caused climate change as a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government.
The Paris climate agreement and the Clean Power Plan both enacted under the Obama administration will more than likely be challenged by Trump.
The Paris climate agreement was developed in 2015 and now binds over 190 countries to a framework that aims to reduce carbon dioxide pollution and to slow the rate of global warming. The Paris agreement which was only recently made into an international law on November, 4 has already come under fire by Trump. President-elect Trump has said that he will cancel the Paris agreement within 100 days of taking office. While Trump cannot stop other countries from participating in the Paris agreement, he has the power to stop the Paris plan’s regulations from being carried out in the United States.
In what President Obama has called his proudest legacy, the domestic regulations put in place by the Clean Power Plan aim to reduce pollution created by coal-fired power plants. In addition to the coal regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, the center of the Clean Power Plan is the idea of closing hundreds of coal-fired power plants and building new wind and solar farms. This transition would decrease power plant emissions in the United States by over 30 percent in the next 25 years, per the New York Times. Obama’s plan has been met with some backlash from major fossil fuel companies and by President-elect Trump. Trump plans to target regulations from the Clean Power Plan while also reducing the role of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump has promised to drastically cut the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency and reduce it’s importance as an agency to that of only an advisory role. Ebell, a global warming denier, appears to be the leading candidate to head the Environmental Protection Agency in whatever role it has during Trump’s presidency.
While this election can be a source of jubilation for those in the coal and fossil fuel industries, Trump’s plans to target the regulations put in place by the Clean Power Plan and to ignore the framework put in place by the Paris agreement will come at the expense of not just the United States but the entire world. The goal of the Paris agreement to reduce atmospheric warming will be almost impossible without the cooperation of the United States, the second largest greenhouse gas polluter in the world after China, who does participate in the Paris agreement. Trump’s plan of refusing to participate in the Paris agreement can also potentially influence other large countries where industry and manufacturing are key to deny those same environmental regulations. Failure to slow atmospheric warming soon can lead to an irreversible trend of warming, which can then result in the worst possible outcomes of global warming, drought, rising sea levels, extreme weather and food shortages. The year 2016 is on pace to be the hottest year on record, beating the records set in 2014 and 2015, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Marrakesh, Morocco, is currently hosting a 12-day conference where global representatives are discussing the details of the Paris climate agreement.
With the United States only months away from a Trump presidency, it is now the rest of the world’s responsibility to pick up our slack and combat global warming.
[Featured Image by John McConnico/AP Images]